Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Day in the Ragusa Province

Nothing gives a traveler an authentic taste of the place they are visiting like traveling with a local. Les and I have been fortunate to become friends with a member of Les' lodge who is also a local who lives in Comiso, near Ragusa. We asked him if he would be willing to help us arrange a couple of activities in that area and not only was he willing to help, he accompanied us as a personal tour guide for most of the day!

We started our day by meeting our friend at a gas station about an hour and a half away from home. From that point we followed him. He took us to a small dairy farm for breakfast where we feasted on fresh, warm ricotta cheese and fresh bread, which were both made that morning.  Oh my goodness was it delicious! We also had a chance to roam around the farm and see the cows, view the milking facility, and watch the cheeses being made. So cool!

Cheese, similar to mozzarella

Fresh Provolone

Fresh Caciocavallo (I think)

After breakfast our friend/tour guide had some business to take care of but said he'd meet up with us later that afternoon. Les & I decided to take my parents to Ragusa Ibla, a beautiful town built in the Baroque style.

I just liked the name of this trattoria :)

Ornamentation on the gate of the duomo, San Giorgio

One of many coffe breaks

After walking around Ragusa Ibla we decided to go toward Modica, a sicilian town famous for its chocolate.  Our first stop was at the lookout for a panoramic view of the town. Along the fence of the panoramico lovers have put hundreds of locks to symbolize their undying love.  The locks have multiplied like rabbits since my last visit.

We were only in Modica for a short time, just enough to grab a quick, light lunch, buy a few chocolates, and snap a few pictures. Our friend called us as we were finishing lunch and gave us our next destination - Donna Fugata castle. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the castle we found out it was closed, but at least my parents got to see the exterior. Our friend decided to take us to his hometown next, Comiso.  He showed us the centro which contained several old churches and even roman baths complete with amazing mosaics! Apparently a modern construction project had unearthed these treasures.  We would have never even seen them if we hadn't been with a local who took us down a side street and pointed them out.

Comiso Church

Courtyard of the City Museum

After exploring Comiso our friend took us to the Museo Archeologico Regionale di Camarina, an archeological site which dates as far back as 598 BC. Unfortunately they didn't allow pictures inside so I don't have a lot to show for this part of our day, but it was extremely interesting. We were lucky we had our friend with us as the museum guide only spoke Italian.

The remaining part of a wall from the Temple of Athena

The last destination of the day was Scoglitti, the town where our friend was born and where he also owns a ristorante. He walked with us around the town, pointing out interesting features that we may have otherwise overlooked and then took us to his restaurant, Pizza in Piazza, for dinner. His restaurant is completely family run. One of his sons is the chef and while we were there we met his wife, sons, and even a grand-daughter!

Looking out over the Scoglitti waterfront at sunset

What a wonderful day! We were able to see and experience things that we would have never have found on our own without a local guide. We are so lucky to have met such a generous friend who would spend his day off taking my family around and being a tour guide!

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